The SFU Men’s Hockey Team will continue preseason play tomorrow with their sole exhibition home game playing the Trinity Western University Spartans.
Last season, SFU had a 5-1-0 regular season record versus Trinity Western, but were swept in the first round of the BCIHL playoffs by their closest league rivals.
“We’re still looking for guys to compete for positions, to solidify their spots in the lineup,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “I think our fitness levels are pretty good, our strength is pretty good, now it’s just a matter of fine-tuning some systems.”
SFU is coming off a 3-1 loss against UBC in their only preseason game so far. However, the Clan played a hard nosed game against the Thunderbirds, opening the scoring with a goal from NCAA Division I transfer Scott Patterson, and controlling much of the pace of the play.
“I’m looking for another good effort like we had against UBC,” said Coletta. “[I saw] just how much energy our guys play with and the spark and the tenacity we had there for opening night. For a preseason game, it was definitely a pleasure to see our guys in midseason form on the intensity level.”
Trinity Western have begun their preseason 0-3, losing against the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen 3-2 and dropping back-to-back games against Red Deer College 3-0 and 4-3.
The Spartans have lost two key pieces from their 2015/16 campaign to graduation — defenceman Blair Murphy, who led the BCIHL in points from the blueline, and forward Mattias Schmitt, who led the team in points.
However, they’ve added some solid replacements. 6’2 defenceman Kenny Batke will join the team from the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL, while former Selkirk College defenceman Stefan Gonzales will join the Spartans after spending a year with Grant MacEwan College. Gonzales spent two years with the Saints, and in the 2014/15 season was second in goals scored by a BCIHL defenceman with seven goals and 21 points.
Goaltender Silas Matthys, who led the BCIHL with a save percentage of .925%, will return in net for the Spartans.
“They’ve led a very good program over there,” said Coletta. “Last year, they were definitely a methodical team and took chances when they had to. They soak in a bunch of pressure and they counter-attack really well.”
Despite the Clan having faced injury problems against UBC with Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, Dustin Cave, and Robson Cramer sitting out that game, Coletta said that “everybody’s healthy,” and will be ready to play versus Trinity Western.
Puck drop is at 7 pm at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. Admission by donation to the SFU Hockey Scholarship Fund, and the game will be broadcast online via FASTHockey.